September 21, 2020
John 10:27-30
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.
New International Version (NIV)
 My wife and I only have two dogs these days.  Others come and visit but only two are permanent residents.  There is a large black Labrador named Paisley.  She is, in my book, “labradorable.”  The other, Xena the Warrior Princess Dog, is a confused border collie-bird dog mix.  She wants to point at birds and shepherd the family at the same time.  They both escaped last week at the same time and frightened a neighbor dog.  The warrior princess had her hackles up.  With no leash, I had no idea how I would get them to leave poor Ranger alone.  Then, inexplicably, they ran right back into the house.  Usually when they run away it takes a long time to get them to come home.

Our good Shepherd has a lot of sheep.  Some baa, some bark and some bite.  But he knows them all because they listen to his voice and follow him.  He also knows our future because he has given us eternal life.  How does God keep us secure?  He doesn’t build a fence to keep us in.  Instead, Jesus holds us in his hand and no one will take us out of his hand.  The Father who has given us to Jesus holds us in his hand, too, and no one can snatch us out.  The Father and Son are united in this.  They will hold us fast.

We don’t want to run away from our Shepherd, do we?  To whom would we go?  We want to stay close to our Shepherd because he is good.  He is the only one who laid down his life for us.   Does it make sense that we would focus on him exclusively and find ourselves right where he wants us to be?   Dallas Willard said, “What we set our minds on shapes us.  Being obsessed with money, sex, fame or politics doesn’t help much.  But setting your mind on Christ will take care of all these things.”  Or as Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  And all these things will be added to you as well.”  Our Shepherd is also our King.  Hurry home to him.  

Pray with me:         
Lord, be our Shepherd today so that we are not constantly wanting what we don’t have. Make us lie down in green pastures.  Lead us beside quiet waters.  Restore our souls.  Guide us along the right paths for your name’s sake.  Thank you for inviting us to your table and including our enemies.  We wouldn’t have thought of inviting them to lunch.  Help us to turn our enemies into friends by loving them today.  We hear the footsteps of your goodness and love behind us.  Help us not to outrun them today, but to be caught and caught up in them.  Lord make us ready for the place you are preparing for us.  Forever is a long time!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:1-2
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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